Lessons learned from absence

The beloved husband and son-in-law cooking on a very cold Denver day.

The beloved husband and son-in-law cooking on a very cold Denver day.

The beloved husband has been on a trip for five days. Since I’ve retired, this is the longest time we’ve been apart.

Having spent the greater part of my life living on my own, I’m independent. I am comfortable in my own company. I can take myself out to dinner and not feel awkward.

For me this was an opportunity to get some things done and do or eat things he doesn’t like.

On my end the weather cooperated. It was in the 80s and warm just the way I like it. On his end, not so much. He was in Denver for a May snowstorm. The temperatures barely hit the 50s for his entire trip. They had five inches of snow.

He got to see the granddaughters and all of his kids so the trip was good.

On my end I learned some things.

Lesson 1, Noise — Being the only person in the house makes me chatty. Yes, I talk to myself a lot. I talk to the cats. I talk to the cabinets. I even swear at corners that come out to hit me. I apologize to the sofa when I kick it and ask my car how it’s doing today. I don’t usually do that when he’s here.

Except for the 3 a.m. cat triathlons that involve running into walls, howling at the top of their little lungs and hopping at full speed onto my chest; cats don’t make noise. In the rare moments that I didn’t talk, the house was quiet. Very, very quiet.

To understand the irony of the talking/noise thing you need to know that the beloved husband doesn’t talk much. It’s more that I talk at him and he grunts back. What he provides is background noise. The lawn mower, tools, screen doors flopping shut. There is none of that going on when he’s not here.

Lesson 2, Cooking – I had great plans of trying some unusual dishes and maybe baking a cake. He’ll be back in a few hours and the only thing I cooked was bacon and eggs. It’s no fun cooking for one.

Lesson 3, Time – Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it flies by and sometimes it drags. For instance when I’m trying to get things done, it flies. Before you know it, I’m out of time. On the other hand when I miss him, it seems like he’s been gone for eons.

Lesson 4, Loneliness – I’m not lonely. I rarely get lonely. Perhaps years on my own has taught me to create routines that make me happy and content. There was some retail therapy and dinner with friends. The cats got a Pedi and some extra huggies and I caught up on some TV programs. Maybe five days is not enough to feel lonely.

He’ll be home in a few hours and I’m hoping to curb my incessant chatting (not likely) and maybe have a nice home cooked dinner (not likely either – I’m thinking rotisserie chicken).

Some things never change.

 

 

 

55 thoughts on “Lessons learned from absence

  1. Love this post as it rings so true for me – two, even three days, of him being away is fine as it leaves me wanting him away longer but after five days the lustre has worn off and I’m looking forward to his return. Then again, having just had the last ten days away with he and the children, when he announced he’d have meetings away just days after we return tomorrow I was secretly rejoicing!

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  2. I thought that was what cats are for… you can talk to yourself and if anybody is listening you can say, oh I was just talking to the cats!

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  3. I really loved this Kate and you spoke for me. I’ve been alone so long I wonder could I even co-exist with another? I do know I’d pick up my singular side like an old worn out hat if I was left alone for a spell.
    I think the world talks to itself. I do…who else would listen so intently? GREAT GREAT PIECE.

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  4. Your plans for a happy “alone time” are sooo familiar, and so are your reactions. I don’t wind up talking aloud to myself when alone, but if there were a dog or a cat I would be chatting away. The truth is, we get used to the “background noise” just as you say. And it’s no fun eating alone. This post is awesomely true. 🙂

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    • Thanks! I did miss the garbage fairy and the fairy who helps put away gardening tools. I use time alone to cut back on my food intake. Maybe drop a pound or two so I can indulge in something truly sinful.

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  5. I think rotisserie chicken is a must have in the kitchen. One chicken is good for three meals. Two meals with actual meat and one for soup with stock. Five dollars and three meals. Not bad. Those chickens are far more versatile than I am these days! My children complain that I talk to myself all of the time and it drives them crazy! But, thankfully, they are not here all that much. The ones that are here are used to it. I am not looking forward to my alone time because I know what that means. I will call you when I need therapy or suggestions.

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    • I agree with you. We will get three meals out of that chicken. I have already made chicken pasta salad for the 2nd meal and have some left for lunch. I enjoy talking to myself. It keeps my jaws lubed.

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  6. Time is kind of elastic. For me, it stretches out, moving too slowly in the mid-afternoon. Then, at some point, it snaps back, and before I know it, it’s time for bed. The first time my husband went on a trip, it was only for three days, but it seemed like forever. Later, he got a job that involved traveling for two or three weeks at a time. I got used to his trips, and didn’t get lonely until about halfway through.

    Since he passed away, though, I tend to have too much time alone. I haven’t started talking to myself, but maybe I should.

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    • Having him gone completely is a totally different story. I would experience loneliness. My ex traveled quite a bit and I got used to it (you do). It’s just been a long time since either of us traveled without the other. Talking to yourself can help. After all you need some intelligent conversation!

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  7. I’m wondering if my wife is chatty when I’m gone? I wonder if our dogs get their ears talked off? Maybe my wife is quiet when I’m home because she can’t get a word in edgewise? Although you do not appear to get lonely Kate, I’m sure your hubby coming home…will make the cats happy! Just kidding I’m sure you’ve missed him too. :O)

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      • I only hope the cats will come to understand the poor mans addiction to his grandchildren. What can I say Kate, we men just can’t fight this one particular obsession, no matter how hard we don’t try. But I’m sure the cats will come around eventually…when he gets around to putting out their cat food.

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  8. What a sweet post. I’ve always loved that country song “how can I miss you if you won’t go away.” Because every marriage needs some down time!

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  9. I am now married to another woman who hates being alone. Wife #1 hated it when I left town for business or solo-family trips, and she would dread it for weeks ahead of time. She got very lonely.

    Wife #2 was exactly the same way prior to my retiring, but now it’s not something that comes up much for obvious reasons. She is preparing for a solo trip to see her family, and I am in fact fine with that. It’ll mean that I can watch things on TV she normally doesn’t like, or bring in take-out not normally eaten by the two of us. However, I cannot verbalize any of this, lest I appear to be too joyful of her leaving. Always a tricky balance.

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  10. Imagine how it would have been if YOU had endured temps in the 50’s (with SNOW!) while he enjoyed balmy 80 degree days . . . he might have been afraid to come home!

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    • I may not have been happy but as long as I didn’t plop down a bunch of money for cold weather, I would just soldier on. May in Denver is chancy. They get their worst snow storms in April and early May so it wasn’t all that out of the ordinary. Now if I went to the islands for a week of snow, yikes!

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  11. I really love my alone time. Since I don’t live with my sweetheart I know I will always have a couple of nights during the week just for me to do whatever I want. Cooking, unfortunately, is rarely involved. 🙂 Alone time is wonderful but so is being together. I talked to my cats all the time (both gone now) and one of my friends would always get a kick out of that.

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    • We spent a few years before we built the house together and ultimately married, like that. Can’t say I minded. I was working and it was great to come home to no expectations! Then it was great to spend time together. You need a cat!

      Liked by 1 person

        • I hear you. When that happens I cry for weeks but then I look in another cat’s eyes and of course I want to rescue them (that’s how I got 4 cats). My old cat (18 and diabetic and somewhat cranky) is pretty healthy now but in the past 2 years I made THAT appointment twice only to have him perk up. I swear that he knew it and wanted to continue to torture me. Gotta love him though.

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  12. I enjoy my alone time more than most, I suspect. Sounds like you do, too. I especially adore the quiet. I talk to myself occasionally, but for the most part I’m a fairly noiseless person when I’m here alone. Now once my husband gets home, I do seem to have a few things to say. 😉

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  13. You’re not alone. Mommy talks to all of us anipals when daddy is not around…. heck now that I think about it. They both talk to us and it doesn’t matter if the other one is around. And we are talking full on conversations. All that is required from us is an occasional oink, meow, bark or a head shake. Perhaps I should have come and stayed with you while your hub was away. I love cooking. Mom tells me I’m the best sous chef she ever had. 🙂 XOXO – Bacon

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    • It was a tropical picnic but the weather gods didn’t cooperate! I love alone time too. We do our own thing when we are home together and often don’t know where the other one is. Mostly he’s at Home Depot fondling tools.

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  14. I have always made the great assumption that I am a normal human being. It has been challenged many times but I still stand by that assumption after all, who knows me better than me? Reading your Post ………….. you are also a normal human being. Congratulations. There are many lesser mortals who envy us! 🙂

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